“Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Hurston

Available on Amazon and at your local bookstore.
Available on Amazon and at your local bookstore.

Like most people, the first time I encountered Zora Neale Hurston‘s Their Eyes Were Watching God was in my AP Literature class. It was a required summer reading and weirdly, I enjoyed every minute of it. I recall my teacher discussing it on the first day. She read the passage on the pear tree and the bee and asked what it meant. No one raised their hand. It seemed that though we knew what the pear tree and the bee symbolized, we were too embarrassed to say it. I raised my hand and tentatively answered that I think it symbolized Janie’s first sexual experience. The teacher replied that I was almost correct and went on to further explain.

Apart from the moment when Janie and Tea Cake first meet, the pear tree passage is my favorite part of the book. Indeed, Their Eyes Were Watching God is one of my favorite novels. I love it for its imagery and poetic language. I love it because it’s like a play at times, what with the exaggerated personas that certain villagers take on when they congregate at Joe Starks’ shop, the stage, and the fact that they are sometimes represented as a chorus, their voices, feelings, and thoughts represented as one for all of them.

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“The Legend of the Sleepy Hollow and Other Macabre Tales” by Washington Irving

Available at Barnes & Noble

Totally love this book although I rushed through it at the end. The tales are unsettling but not scary. I’ve always heard of them and assumed that they were very scary, probably because of the movies inspired by them. I found Legend of the Sleepy Hollow with Johnny Depp very scary.

Washington Irving is a great short story writer and I love his witty writing style and his descriptions: detailed but not burdensome. I also enjoy the little lessons he incorporated into the stories and the unexpected endings. These are tales and legends and I love the way they are told: like when one sits by a camp fire at midnight and listen to a wizened elder retell tales that have been passed down from generations.

Definitely makes me want to read up on some Dutch folk tales.